Kings XI Punjab are turning out to be one of the dominant teams in Indian Premier League 2018, and they have shown their potential by winning 6 out of 9 of their matches so far, which has boosted their chances to win the coveted title. The team’s last clash was on May 6 against Rajasthan Royals, which KXIP won by 6 wickets. Coming in to chase Rajasthan’s 152, KXIP opener KL Rahul scored 84 and helped his team to go past the finishing line. Speaking about KL Rahul’s excellent batting performance, Marcus Stoinis said that it was the opening batsman’s best knock ever.
Kings XI Punjab had won the toss and opted to field first, which saw Rajasthan’s batsmen struggle, ever since RR opening batsman Jos Buttler got dismissed by Mujeeb Ur Rahman on 51 runs. All the remaining batsmen’s efforts fell short, as D’Arcy Short scored 2, Ajinkya Rahane scored 5, Ben Stokes scored 11, Jofra Archer got out on duck, and the 2nd highest run-scorer from Rajasthan Royals was Sanju Samson who scored 28.
Chasing the total of Rajasthan Royals’ 152, KXIP batsmen struggled too, but it was due to KL Rahul’s exhilarating opening knock of 84* runs, which the 26-year-old scored off 54 balls, that helped the team push beyond the target score in 18.4 overs. After the match was over, Marcus Stoinis, who scored 23* off 16, and scored the winning runs for KXIP along with KL Rahul, said that KL Rahul’s explosive 84, which included seven boundaries and three sixes, was his best knock ever.
Marcus Stoinis explains KXIP’s strategy
Speaking about what had been the team’s strategy coming in to chase Rajasthan Royals’ score, Stoinis told Cricbuzz,
“Our strategy was to start as we do with the two big guns opening and hopefully get to a good start, and really that’s been the key to our batting. So the main challenge was in the middle order, that if we get the opportunity, we step up and try and win the game.”
“Even though it was a small target, the wicket, I think was quite tough. So the bowl was bowled well and the batters batted well.”
KL Rahul played his best innings: Stoinis
“I don’t know what you guys think but I think that was his best innings. That’s what the best players do, they win the game. And it’s what he has done today. It doesn’t matter, sometimes you are not the stylish player you want to be, even though he was the stylish player of the game. “
“He understood the situation, he understood the wicket, and he batted accordingly. I think according to be it was his smartest innings so far.”
Marcus Stoinis’ role in KXIP and batting partnerships with KL Rahul
Marcus Stoinis, who was bought by KXIP at the IPL 2018 player auctions for INR 6.2 crore, spoke about his role in the team, and how playing the winning batting partnership with KL Rahul was like, against Rajasthan Royals. About his role, Stoinis said that although it was to come and adapt to the game, there was still a clear role to be defined. However, Stoinis added that the team will have come up with plans in short time. He said,
“I think it is to be adaptable to understand how the game is flowing, and then, really go in. Sometimes I’m padded up a bit early, but in the last couple games it’s just been pushed back. Probably not a clear, clear cut role yet, but I think it is what we’re figuring out and we will have in some time and then we will be flying.”
Speaking about his partnership with KL Rahul, Stoinis said that his aim was to go out there and get settled in having soaked in the situation, and it was what KL Rahul had also told the Australian batsman. Stoinis said,
“My aim was to get out there and sum the situation, although I watched the footage on TV, but it’s hard to understand when you go out there. KL Rahul told me the same thing, to take a few balls and get relaxed, see and understand the conditions.”